Nine dead, 107 poisoned in Andean village in Peru


Nine dead, 107 poisoned in Andean village in Peru

Cesar Uco

16 August 2018

On the evening of August 6, nine people died and 107 were poisoned while attending a funeral in the small rural town of San Jose de Ushua in the province of Paucar del Sara Sara in the southern tip of Peru’s Ayacucho department.

At 8 p.m., food was served. In the first two hours, several of the attendees showed symptoms of illness. As it became apparent that it was a case of mass poisoning, those sickened had to be evacuated to the closest town with a hospital. With a population of 177, 60 percent of San Jose de Ushua’s residents were affected.

One week after President Martin Vizcarra addressed the nation promising to clean up government corruption and making an appeal for foreign capital to return to Peru, this tragedy in a small impoverished peasant town in the Andes, serves as a reminder of the conditions of extreme poverty confronting millions of Peruvians.

The Ayacucho daily La Prensa said the tragedy could have been avoided if the victims had received timely medical attention. The head of the Regional Health Directorate (Diresa), John Tinco Bautista, added that lack of human resources and the inadequate staffing of health facilities is a problem that should be addressed urgently by the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

“The predisposing factors in these nine deaths have been time and mobility. The issue of the human resources gap according to the capacity of the health centers is a difficulty that we still cannot overcome,” said Tinco Bautista.

According to La Prensa: “That night in the health post of Ushua there was only a nursing technician attending, which is why those affected had to be transferred to the health center of Oyolo and Marcabamba.” The sick were transported by…

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